DHS senior goes far on summer vacation
While most teenagers graduating from high school are planning camping trips, or to go to Lake Tahoe, or to catch up on the many hours of sleep they missed out on during their high school years, Douglas High School senior Patty Salazar is making much bigger plans.
Patty, 17, will live in Holmstad, Sweden, for 10 months.
Patty applied to the Rotary Youth Exchange program and was selected from a group of nine Douglas County students, all who had to go through a rigorous interview process.
“I applied around last October,” said Patty. “I had to do two interviews, and I was chosen out of the group of students.”
Patty leaves for Sweden in July and will be living with a host family and attending the local high school as a senior. In Sweden, the education system lasts for 13 grades, rather than the 12 in the American system.
“It will be like another senior year,” she said.
Patty has three years of German under her belt, but does not yet know Swedish.
“I’ve been using a CD-Rom program, but it’s really hard,” she laughed.
After living in Sweden, Patty plans on attending the University of Nevada, Reno, to study international business. She plans to transfer to another college after two years but she hasn’t figured out where yet.
The Rotary Youth Exchange program costs $5,000, but she said that covers most expenses, and that the fee is like an “open-ended ticket.”
“If something were to happen, like an emergency or a death in the family, I could get on a plane and come back immediately,” she said.
Patty said she has never traveled anywhere else but aspires to some day go to Germany and other places in middle Europe.
“I love how family-oriented it is,” she said of the European culture.
She said that she has no Swedish heritage in her family and is looking forward to learning about the Swedish lifestyle.
Patty is “ecstatic” about graduating from DHS in June.
“I can’t wait,” she said of both graduating and her trip to Sweden.”I want to be opened up to the world, to become connected to it,” she said of her opportunity. “I really want to broaden my horizons.”